Hundertwasser: Prints, Paintings & Art

Instructor: Benjamin Truitt

Benjamin has a Bachelors in philosophy and a Master's in humanities.

Friedensreich Hundertwasser was a visionary artist and printmaker who rebelled against conventional techniques and style. His rejection of traditional rules and techniques resulted in a very unique style.

His Own Paradise

'Paradise is there, but we destroy it.' - Friedensreich Hundertwasser

Even in his own Self Portrait, Friedensreich Hundertwasser painted in a way that was true to his beliefs.
Hundertwasser Self-Portrait

When you look at a painting, you may note that all the colors in the painting complement and contrast with one another. If you look in the shadows, you might notice that the artist has mixed in some paint from the brighter areas, and the repeated use of color works to make a coherent image.

But if you're standing in front of a painting by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, these rules don't really apply. Instead, the color leaps off the canvas, boldly clashing and fighting as rich hues are layered one upon the other. You might even think it looks like something a child could paint. As you stand there, chances are good you are asking yourself one important question: why did Hundertwasser paint like this?

Freedom From Rules

Friedensreich Hundertwasser rejected all painting techniques and artistic philosophies in his work. Instead, he chose to paint without any guiding principles or methods in his work. Hundertwasser did not limit himself to conventional canvases or material when creating his masterpieces--he even mixed his own paints so as not to be restricted in his color palette! This complete control over the creation of his images allowed him to use or create whatever kind oft echnique he felt was appropriate. Hundertwasser was so focused on the integrity of his work that he went so far as to create his own prints and reproductions to ensure full creative control over his work.

In addition to Hundertwasser's freedom in technique, he also rejected the calls for art to fit into a particular school of thought or philosophy. He called his inspirational process a vegetative process, meaning that he did not allow himself to plan his works out in a way that might reduce their spontaneity. Hundertwasser wrote, 'One reason why other people do not want to paint vegetatively or want to take to a vegetative way of life is because it begins too unpretentiously…' This is the reason his work, more than most artists, resembles the work of children. Hundertwasser viewed the child's creative process, free of convention, as true expression. He even created a name for his unique creative process: transautomatism.

Although he painted Metro Oriente on perfectly square tiles, Hundertwasser purposely made all of the lines crooked.
Metro Oriente

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